Scientists Invent 'Second Skin' So We Can All Be Cyborgs

Illustration for article titled Scientists Invent 'Second Skin' So We Can All Be Cyborgs

Scientists at Harvard and M.I.T. have developed something they are calling a “second skin,” which they expect will be used in a variety of ways—to lock in sunscreen, to treat eczema and other skin conditions, and to give users the poreless, unlined skin of a young Ansel Elgort.


A study published in the journal Nature Materials featuring pilot studies with 170 subjects demonstrated how an elastic polymer layer comprised of several FDA-approved chemicals “mimics the properties of normal, youthful skin.”

The research, still in early stages, included tests on people with undereye bags and people with dry skin on their legs. How it will work, from the New York Times:

First, a polymer, a clear liquid, is applied. Its chains are not very strong, though, so the next step is applying a product that links them together. By modifying the chemistry of the chains, the researchers can alter the properties of the second skin, depending on how it will be used, making it more or less permeable, for example. A more permeable second skin might be used for undereye bags while a less permeable one might hold a medication in place. It can be removed with a solution that dissolves the polymer.

Coming soon for all of us:

Image via USA/Ex Machina.

Ellie is a freelance writer and former senior writer at Jezebel. She is pursuing a master's degree in science journalism at Columbia University in the fall.


Lana del ¿Qué?

I need that shit for the bottom of my feet so I can pick at the polymer instead. Could they make a pull-and-peel version?

It’s embarrassing and psycho compulsive habits like that, that make it clear I should have started smoking cigarettes instead.